The Meg (2018)
Director(s): Jon Turteltaub
Writer(s): Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, Steve Alten (novel)
Starring: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson
Let me say it again, once more with feeling; Thalassophobia. Now that the word is in your head, let’s define the darn thing for those who are uninitiated; it is simply the intense fear of deep bodies of water. A wave of crippling anxiety and fear washes over you as think about the deep ocean since there is only what seems like an eternity of darkness with unknown creatures of all kinds staring up at your sinking body. There is something terrifying for me when it comes to the void of the unknown in a place where you can’t breathe and as humans, we know nothing about other than the unsettling fantasies that we create in our head. It’s interesting that the same can be said above, in space where the blanket of darkness is just as ominous, yet, for some reason, perhaps because there have been plenty of movies that show the fantastical beauty as well as the terror, to me, space is beautiful in its mystery. Both share the same sort of terrifying qualities, yet if you were to ask me to go on either a space adventure or a deep sea voyage, the former I shall go.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve felt the terror of almost drowning before and add whatever monsters lay below makes my fear of deep water more reasonable but to me, movies about sea terrors always make the hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention more than the usual. There have been a great number of horror flicks that exploited this specific phobia but to get it out of the way, yes, I concur that Spielberg’s JAWS will forever be the standard of Thalassophobia. I mean, as a flick, beyond being horror, it’s still considered to be one of the greatest films of all time and the cultural impact the movie has is still apparent to this day. This was the flick that caused generations of folks to be scared of oceans, pools and yes, it’s true even TOILETS at one point in history. Any self respecting horror fiend knows this already but this after all, is the FearTastic Vault, which is the home for Horror GEMS that may be overlooked, forgotten or introduced to a wider audience so I thought I would talk about a flick that decided to take a concept that was made legendary and decided to give it a fun, action twist!
The Meg, on the surface, is basically the cousin of Jaws that watched way too many Fast and the Furious flicks and fell into a radioactive vat of Mountain Dew and you know what? There is NOTHING wrong with that my good friends! This was a fun movie about GIANT SHARKS. There is not much to it other than that but for yucks, I’ll summarize the plot. A group of scientists exploring the Marianas trench are trapped and a legendary naval captain is enlisted to save them but they all encounter the creature of deep sea legend, the ancient Megaladon. The plot itself is fun enough so that you do not get bored and the characters are even entertaining in classic horror fodder but the only thing I wanted to get out of this flick was to tease my fear of deep water in creative ways and yes, this flick definitely delivered.
There are some intense images throughout this movie where my brain teetered from fun bouts of hoping the shark gets as many suckers as possible to pulsating fear that what if I was the one in a tube floaty as something the size of building floats below me just selecting at random if I was a snack. The shots from above of the Meg swimming under large groups of people or swimming by an underwater ocean lab, deep below make me cringe as I type away on this entry but that’s why I thought this movie deserves some praise in being as fun as it was, knowing that this sort of genre had the bar set a long time ago. The Meg doesn’t try to raise the bar, it merely wanted to take the bar and throw some glitter on top while AC/DC played in the background. To me, when a movie is honest about its intentions, I am on board and definitely on your side.
It’s easy to forget that some movies are purely made for the fun of the audience yet flicks like The Meg still happen to tap into that fear that is genuinely real and it makes you appreciate the horror genre all over again because that’s the point; entertaining fear. The macabre that makes you shriek and immediately smile afterwards. Although my heart will always pound furiously whenever I look over a boat in the middle of the ocean since I’ve seen a flick about a giant shark, I can also remember how much fun I had watching a giant shark maul people in the safety of my own couch and in that moment, even ever so brief, I shall feel relief. All in all, go suck a BUTT Thalassophobia.
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.